I pray today, Lord, for those who are feeling the strain of their advancing years. Help them to be proud of the significant achievements they have made, and to age with dignity, caring and love. Help them to keep active and to appreciate what is done for them. In Christ’s name. AMEN
Lord, forgive me that I waste so much time on things that are trivial. Let your Holy Spirit so work in me that I become aware of how valuable time is and make me a better steward of it. You have given me the days and the hours. Make me jealous of the minutes. Through Jesus Christ. AMEN
I ask your blessing today for people who have been injured in shooting incidents, or by knife attacks. You yourself were a victim of unjustified violence. Minister to them your grace and strength so that they can know recovery and health. Through Christ I ask it. AMEN
“Then everyone will know that God rules in Israel, that his rule extends over all the earth”.
Psalm 59:3 GNB
Modern hymn-books are collections of hymns reflecting a wide range of hopes, prayers, conditions and praises. The Book of Psalms, compiled two and a half thousand years ago, does the same. It was the hymn-book of the second temple, not the one built by Solomon, but the one erected after the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon in 538 B.C. It is a strange collection of sentiments ranging from joy and praise to vindictive anger and the calling down of God’s wrath on Israel’s enemies, which makes it wreak of narrow-minded nationalism.
The current competition between the nations and their gods, and the fluctuation of their fortunes caused people much concern. The constant march of armies and the predatorial campaigns of virtually every nation’s kings meant that the people of Israel lived in permanent fear. Israel was a small nation and therefore vulnerable when foreign armies came their way. They looked to God to defend them. However, there was a sense of their responsibility to the other nations. God had called them to be a beacon of light and truth to the Gentiles. Even while calling down God’s punishment on those who were foreigners to them they saw the bigger picture – it meant that their enemies would see the might and power of their (Israelites’) God and come to worship and serve him.
The gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost caused the disciples of Jesus to look beyond the national confines of their Jewish faith. From Pentecost onwards they looked outwards and Paul spearheaded the Christian thrust to the Gentiles. Today we must never become parochial. We too are called to go to all the world.
Lord, make us aware of our outward mission.
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